Brawl at party prompts investigation

May 10, 1994|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Sun Staff Writer

The Lynch Mob Softball Team's benefit dance at a Baltimore County fire hall erupted into a brawl early Sunday that sent one partygoer off in police custody and another to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with serious head injuries.

Police said officers in eight county and three city police cars arrived about 12:45 a.m. and found more than 100 people in the English Consul Volunteer Fire Association hall, where "five or six different groups" were fighting.

Four ambulances were called to the hall at 2827 Michigan Ave. in Baltimore Highlands, and several people complained of burning eyes after they were sprayed with pepper mace by one of the officers summoned to break up the fight.

Meanwhile, Baltimore County yesterday began an investigation to determine whether liquor and gaming laws were violated because the Liquor Board and the Department of Permits and Licenses could find no applications for the affair to serve beer or run a "Big Six" gambling wheel.

William E. Davidson, 35, of the 2000 block of Annapolis Road, suffered the most serious injuries when he fell to the floor, struck his head and then was hit by a metal chair thrown by another man, according to Donald "Butchie" Partin, 21, of Westport, who attended the event.

Mr. Davidson was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where his condition improved from critical to serious yesterday.

Three women were also treated at hospitals for various injuries, police reported.

Alex Winepol, 27, of Owings Mills, said he saw minors being served "buckets of beer" at the event, but was told to mind his own business when he inquired about it.

Although beer was on tap and was listed on the $13 dance tickets, neither the fire company nor the Lynch Mob had a liquor license for the event, said Chief Liquor Inspector Gerald Kilduff.

Mr. Winepol said a "Big Six" gaming wheel was in operation during the dance, but the county Department of Permits and Licenses could find no permit for it.

Eugene A. Freeman, chief of licensing and regulation services, said organizations sometimes have events without obtaining the proper permits, "but it's like income tax evasion or driving without a license -- nobody knows about it until you get caught."

Mr. Partin, who is Mr. Winepol's brother-in-law, said the fight broke out when a man accused his girlfriend of dancing with Mr. Partin and other men, and then pushed her to the floor twice.

Another Lynch Mob team member intervened and the fighting began.

It eventually involved 15 to 20 people, said Mr. Partin, who claimed that a police officer broke his nose with a nightstick.

Police said Melvin W. Musgrove, Jr., 22, of the 4000 block of Annapolis Road, was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly fighting and resisting arrest -- even after he was sprayed twice with pepper mace. He was released at 3:20 a.m. with a citation for trial June 27 in Catonsville District Court.

Officer David Pacoe, who sprayed Mr. Musgrave, reported the situation was "perfect" for the pepper spray because the fights stopped at once -- without further injuries -- and people ran from the building. Several fights resumed outside but were quelled by waiting officers, according to E. Jay Miller, county police spokesman.

Gerry Conway, the Lynch Mob coach, said he was at the dance, "But I don't know what happened. I have nothing to say." He would not say who arranged the dance or whether liquor and gaming permits were sought.

Bradford Thomas, president of the fire company, said the contract with groups renting the hall requires them to obtain the requisite permits.

However, he said he is not certain whether those who handled the Lynch Mob booking checked to make sure the permits were obtained.

Mr. Thomas said that fire company members on duty tried unsuccessfully to break up the fight at its outset and then called police for help.

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